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Posts Tagged ‘Drugs’

An E.R. Doc Learns the Economics of Street Drugs

An E.R. doctor in the Pacific Northwest who writes a blog called “Movin’ Meat” might seem an unlikely candidate to know the economics of street drugs. But since he treats overdoses, he’s learned a bit.

Isn't It Funny How Governments Loosen Their Morals When Cash Is Short?

From Dan Okrent’s recent Q&A about Prohibition: “No factor played a larger role in the repeal of Prohibition than the government’s desperate need for revenue as the country fell into the grip of the Depression.” In short: governments who hate vice suddenly hate it much less when cash flow is slow. And we are seeing that again today.

How to Streamline Drug Research?

We all know that information is valuable, and that more information is generally better than less.
But in the realm of pharmaceutical research (as in others, to be sure), there’s a troubling paradox: while successes are widely publicized, and while the results of clinical trials are usually published, the research from projects that fail before that stage is usually kept hidden.

Are Ritalin-Taking Students Cheaters?

When athletes are exposed as dopers, we heap scorn and doubt on their accomplishments. What about college students? An estimated 25 percent of them now illegally use concentration- and memory-boosting drugs to help them make the grade. One researcher wonders if academics are willing to subject themselves to the same anti-doping circus now dogging sports.

Fewer Drugs In America Means More Problems for Mexico

Last week’s horrific killings at the Ciudad Juarez drug treatment center were front-page news in Texas. The murders are partly the result of what happens in a market when restrictions on supply are imposed in a related market.

Why Are We on Drugs?

If it’s not caffeine or alcohol, it’s Xanax or marijuana or morphine or cocaine or crack. There’s a apparently universal human drive to alter our consciousness, to a greater or lesser degree, whether it’s legal or not. How we go about doing that is the subject of Ryan Grim‘s new book This Is Your Country on Drugs, reviewed here.

A Generation of Very Focused Accountants

If deliberately practicing your way to success seems like a lot of work, there’s always the prescription drug route. In The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot explores the increasing use of cognitive-enhancement drugs. Tests have indicated that the drugs improve concentration but their effect on abstract thought and creativity is unclear. As one scientist put it, “I’m a little concerned that . . .

The Sound of Commitment

| Can sound waves win the war on drugs? The Sound Advice Project, an anti-drug campaign, lets parents record a six-second message of support for their kids, then mails them a 3D plastic representation of the recording’s unique waveform for their kid to wear as a bracelet. It’s a cool commitment device, but also a cool birthday gift to a . . .

The Latest on Homicide Rates

Nothing grabs headlines like dire warnings about homicide trends. And there is no criminologist better at garnering headlines than James Alan Fox, whom you might remember from Freakonomics for the ominous reports he produced about juvenile homicide for Attorney General Janet Reno in the 1990’s, even as crime began to plunge. James Alan Fox is baaaack with a new report . . .

Jenkem: Bringing the Levitt Family Together

I often get emails from blog readers asking me to shed light on some issue that, in the mind of the email writer, is a pressing social or economic issue. Sometimes it is a big issue like immigration or the financial crisis. More often it is something less mainstream, like election fraud or an unusual application of incentives. And then . . .

Corn in My Coffee, Lead in My Pot

Doctors at several hospitals in Leipzig, Germany, could not figure out the cause of a recent rash of lead poisoning. Was there an environmental disaster underway? They kept seeking the source and, after several weeks, as they write in the New England Journal of Medicine: … we detected a common pattern: the patients were young, were unemployed or were students, . . .

Shermer on the Doping Dilemma

Michael Shermer, author of Mind of the Market and columnist extraordinaire at Scientific American, delivers an excellent column in this issue on sports doping. Shermer, it turns out, was a competitive cyclist who observed the rise of doping first-hand. He offers a number of suggestions for fighting illegal doping, such as disqualifying all team members from any event if one . . .

Frank Talk on Marijuana Legalization

Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is introducing a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana on the federal level. He says existing laws unfairly target legal users of medical marijuana in states like California. We held a Freakonomics quorum late last year to debate the pros and cons of legalizing the drug, and many of you weighed in. With Frank’s legalization . . .

Whither the Price of Party Pills? A Guest Post

A story on the Internet noted that New Zealand is banning the so-called party pill, a stimulant that is already illegal in the U.S. The ban goes into effect April 1. Sales after that date are outlawed, and possession will be illegal after October 1. The fines on sellers after April 1 will no doubt cause a decrease in supply, . . .

What Don’t We Know About the Pharmaceutical Industry? A Freakonomics Quorum

This blog has regularly featured items on the pharmaceutical industry, including posts here, here, and here. It was this post in particular, highlighting an interview with the CEO of Genentech, that made me want to post a quorum on the subject. So we’ve gathered up some willing and able candidates — Dr. Stuart Apfel, Zola P. Horovitz, Dr. Harlan Krumholz, . . .

The FREAK-est Links

How much influence do the primaries really have? Despite the “War on Drugs,” illegal drugs still a multi-billion dollar business. Holiday gifts for data addicts. (HT: Consumerist) Guatemala’s government moves to regulate baby trade.

The FREAK-est Links

“[H]ybrid record label and blog” launches with new plan for selling music. (Earlier) A lesson in “Marijuanomics 101”. (HT: Economics International) A classic aptonym. (Earlier) Japanese engineers develop “musical roads”. (HT: BoingBoing)

Shorter Sentences for Crack Cocaine

A couple of years ago, we wrote a column about crack cocaine, which ended with a discussion of the federal sentencing guidelines for crack vs. powder cocaine: This disparity has often been called racist since it disproportionately imprisons blacks. In fact, the law probably made sense at the time, when a gram of crack did have far more devastating social . . .

On the Legalization — or Not — of Marijuana

I have a favorite thought exercise: look at an issue that’s important, complex, and interesting — something like healthcare, education, or electoral politics — and pretend that you could rebuild the system from scratch, without the convoluted histories and incentives that currently exist. What would the new system look like? How differently would you think about key issues if there . . .

The FREAK-est Links

Does file sharing really have no effect on record sales? (Earlier) Four men charged with selling steroids on MySpace. (Earlier) Consultants build a business around “nonverbal cue” coaching. Smaller Volvo marketed to new group of “enlightened consumers”.

The FREAK-est Links

What’s the solution to air pollution in China? Becker and Posner speak. (Earlier) Also in China: man dies after three straight days of online gaming. (Earlier) More than a quarter of a billion people to use mobile dating services by 2012. Does smoking marijuana have long-term effects?

The FREAK-est Links

Match the drug to the warning label. (Hat tip: BoingBoing) Does Consumer Reports need a lesson in data analysis? (Earlier) Meet Harvard macroeconomist Robert Barro. Hotels grapple with going green.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Street Gangs (But Didn’t Know Whom to Ask)

We recently solicited your questions about street gangs for Sudhir Venkatesh, the then-grad student we wrote about in Freakonomics who is now a professor of sociology at Columbia. His answers are, IMHO, fascinating. Your questions were really good, too; thanks. Venkatesh will publish a book, Gang Leader for a Day, in early 2008. Q: Do you think the HBO series . . .

And Today Is…

August 2 marks the 70th anniversary of the passage of the Marihuana [sic] Tax Act of 1937, which, while not explicitly banning the drug, did effectively render it illegal by assigning a tax to “[e]very person who imports, manufactures, produces, compounds, sells, deals in, dispenses, prescribes, administers, or gives away marihuana.” While the tax itself ($1 a year) wasn’t bad, . . .

Will Copper-Stealing Meth Heads Jack Up the Price of Your Almonds?

In today’s New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer writes about California farmers whose irrigation systems are being stripped of their copper wiring, presumably by methamphetamine addicts who sell the metal in the recycling market: Theft of scrap metal, mostly copper, has vexed many areas of American life and industry for the last 18 months, fueled largely by record-level prices for copper . . .

The FREAKest Links: John Jermajesty Jingleheimer Smith Edition

For those seeking a little variety in the name department, the U.K. Times ranks the fifty “craziest celebrity baby names,” including such gems as “Aurelius Cy,” “Fifi Trixibell,” “Moxie CrimeFighter” and “Jermajesty.” Lucky for them, none of the featured celebrity parents live in Malaysia. Reader John Wilson alerted us to his blog, WhereIsJohnWilson, which documents his quest to have his . . .